The first ever China-Caribbean Conference on Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Cooperation convened in Grenada on Monday at the Radisson Grand Beach Resort as Beijing joined the region to help tackle the issue of cross-border corruption.
The high-level two day meeting was attended by Vice Chairman of National Commission of Supervision in China, Xu Lingyi and a number of delegations from different member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
In a keynote address, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell said that the fight against corruption is beneficial to all involved.
He stated that the region’s participation signals its resolve “to fight corruption and to jointly tackle the issue of cross-border corruption that could undermine good governance, good business practices and general financial services in our countries”.
According to Dr. Mitchell, the issue of corruption has been identified through research as a major factor hindering the development of countries and “the individual and collective action we take to combat the vexing issue of corruption can only help to enhance the development of our respective countries and the region as a whole.”
China’s commitment to fight corruption, Dr. Mitchell said, has been duly noted with its participation in the conference.
“In recent years, many of our Caribbean neighbours have worked with Beijing on a number of law enforcement issues, but there has not been a formal framework of cooperation. Sisters and brothers, it is our distinct hope that this conference will establish that framework”, he told participants.
Delegates at this conference shared best practices on mutual law enforcement and security concerns, explored specific cooperation instruments and initiatives to enhance law enforcement cooperation and establish networks for information sharing.
This, Dr. Mitchell said, is needed for success in the fight against corruption.
“We can all agree that corruption impairs social fairness and justice, it undermines the image and credibility of countries and their governments and it hinders economic development and the realisation of sustainable development. In fact, it is well known that when our own citizens think governments are not dealing with corruption aggressively, they tend to perceive that we are also involved.
“At its core, corruption undermines the rule of law and marginalises people. It impinges on the very purpose of government – which is to uphold the rule of law and to empower people.
Therefore, sisters and brothers, our co-operation on these matters is crucial to all of us, individually and collectively. People who seek to weave their web of corruption to the detriment of the state and its people, and our prized economic development, must come face to face with the reality that there will be no place to run and absolutely no place to hide.
Although the conference is the first to be held in the region, PM Mitchell advised that it should be held on a continuous basis.
“We must appreciate that law enforcement and security are part of a dynamic environment. Every piece of legislation we enact, every regulation we approve, every structure we create, these will be continually challenged by the corrupt few, as they find new ways to circumvent established procedures”, he said.
“It is critical therefore, that as law enforcers, we always stay ahead of the game and we maintain innovation and timeliness as key watchwords. Regular meetings of this nature, will help to ensure that we stay one step of the corrupt minds,” he added.